Despite improvements in sustainable fashion design and manufacturing processes, new research shows that the number of clothing ended up in landfill or incineration is on the rise.
This is according to not-for-profit organisation Wrap’s “Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020” (SCAP) report, which unites brand and retail signatories with charities and recyclers to help make clothes more sustainably.
Latest figures show that brand and retailer participants have already met 2020’s water target, with a reduction of more than 18% against the 15% target.
Their carbon footprint is also down by 13.4%, with one year left the meet the 15% target. Wrap said given the current rate of progress, it is “confident” that this will be met.
However, with UK shoppers buying more clothes “than ever”, the report warned that “more work is required by many more businesses” and that it is “unlikely” the 3.5% waste reduction target will be met by December next year.
Director Peter Maddox added: “I am delighted by the improvements SCAP signatories have made in carbon and water, but waste and influencing consumer behaviour remain more challenging.
“The next few years will be an interesting time for the sector. As well as the economic context and trends in fashion, we have the EU exit and increased sector scrutiny that may all shape the future for UK fashion.”
Environment minister Rebecca Pow said: “Wrap’s report shows some of the country’s biggest clothing brands and retailers are making real progress in making their industry more sustainable. But there’s much more to do, in particular, reducing the amount of clothing that goes to landfill..”